Consumer VI Organizations
The following is a list of organizations that provide advocacy and information specific to working with individuals who are blind or visually impaired. If there are additional resource books or websites you feel should be listed here, please let me know by completing the form below and I will add them.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology is a professional membership association for eye care physicians. They work to ensure that the public can obtain the best possible eye care and quality of life. They provide information on eye health for consumers and referrals to member physicians. Eye Smart provides consumer eye health news and information on a variety of eye diseases and disorders.
The American Action Fund
The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults is a service agency that specializes in providing blind people help that is not readily available to them from government programs or other existing service systems. The purpose of the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults is to assist blind and deaf-blind persons in securing reading matter, to educate the public about blindness, to provide specialized aids and appliances to the blind, to give consultation to governmental and private agencies serving the blind, to offer assistance to those losing vision in their later years, to offer services to blind children and their parents, and to work toward improving the quality of life for the blind and deaf-blind. In 1997 the American Action Fund started a program to provide children who are blind with a free Braille book every month from a popular children's reading series. The books are for the children to keep and collect for as long as they want them.
The American Council of the Blind (ACB) is a membership organization of people who are blind and visually impaired. Uses advocacy and education to improve the well-being of people who are visually impaired. The ACB holds an annual conference and convention which includes a trade show of all the latest high- and low-tech devices for blind and visually impaired individuals, a variety of seminars, workshops, and break-out sessions on a variety of topics for parents, students, teachers, braille users, guide dog users, visually impaired entrepreneurs, lawyers, and much more.
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a non-profit organization that provides information, directories, publications, and links on visual impairment and blindness issues. They promote employment, independent living, literacy, and technology for people with visual impairments. They also provide referrals to local rehabilitation services. The AFB eLearning Center offers an accessible Learning environment that includes online courses, webinars (both live and archived), and ePublications. They also hold the annual AFB Leadership Conference.
The American Optometric Association is a membership organization of optometrists, provides information on visual conditions, eye diseases, and low vision; consumer guides for eye care; a glossary of eye and vision conditions; and a database for local referrals to optometrists.
The American Optometric Association provides information on low vision and maintains a list by state of their members who specialize in low vision.
The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is the worlds’ largest agency devoted solely to creating products and services for people who are visually impaired. Their publications, assistive devices, and materials are available through catalogs and online. Also, APH also offers webcasts on a wide range of topics including trainings specific to products offered by APH.
Assists veterans who have been blinded by providing rehabilitation and vocational training, job placement assistance, and location of aid from federal, state and local resources through field services. Operates a volunteer service program in veterans' communities and provides information and referral services.
Bookshare provides access to books that are legally scanned for people who are visually impaired or print disabled. It is available to people with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers that can customize their experience to suit their learning style and find virtually any book they need for school, work, or the joy of reading. The books can be read with adaptive technology or in embossed braille.
Braille Authority of North America (BANA)
The Braille Authority of North America promotes and facilitates the use, teaching, and production of braille. It publishes rules, interprets and renders opinions of braille. Publications include the Literary Braille, Computer Braille, Nemeth code, Chemistry Code, Music Code and References on Updates. provides publications available for download.
The Braille Institute is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate barriers to a fulfilling life caused by blindness and severe sight loss. They offer free programs, classes, and services in Southern California, but also offer online resources about vision loss.
The Carroll Center for the Blind provides help for people who are blind including training and adaptive devices to individuals of all ages who have lost their sight so they can live independent and fulfilling lives. They also offer technical training and low vision products as well as online courses and video tutorials.
Holds conferences and webinars on technology for persons with disabilities including those who blind or visually impaired. Publishes an e-magazine, Closing the Gap.
Promotes the right o individuals who have partial sight to maximize the use of their residual vision. Educates the public on the needs of persons who are visually impaired. It provides information about available services and has support groups and chapters throughout the United States. Publishes Vision Access.
Discovery Eye Foundation works to find treatments and cures to sight-threatening eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, keratoconus, ocular herpes, and retinitis pigmentosa. It provides information and personalized support to the public through it's Macular Degeneration Partnership, National Keratoconus Foundation, and Discovery Eye Foundation blog.
Do It Blind is a leader in JAWS script development (a proprietary programming language) and Blind Accessibility solutions. Their primary goal is to empower the visually impaired through the use of cutting edge technology, screen readers and JAWS script programming.
Envision promotes advocacy and independence for those who are blind or have low vision. Envision’s mission is to improve the quality of life and provide inspiration for the blind and visually impaired through employment, outreach, rehabilitation, education, and research. Education is a central focus of Envision’s mission but the organization also presents various programs throughout the year for specialists and for students who are blind and visually impaired, including several assistive technology camps for middle and high school students. Their annual conference brings in experts from around the globe to share information, and a series of grand rounds programs focusing on specific areas of low vision.
The urgent mission of the Foundation Fighting Blindness is to drive the research that will provide preventions, treatments, and cures for people affected by retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases. For a $25.00 annual membership fee, FFB offers information and referral services for affected individuals and their families as well as for doctors and eye care professionals. Their national conference is usually held every year.
HEATH Resource Center at the National Youth Transitions Center
Operates a national clearinghouse on post-secondary education for persons with disabilities. Collects and disseminates information about educational services, policies adaptations, and opportunities at U.S. colleges and universities training schools, independent living centers and other post-high school training options
Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults provides rehabilitation services, employment services, services for students, low vision services, as well as services for seniors and those with developmental disabilities.
Lighthouse International provides vision rehabilitation services, education, research, prevention, and advocacy. It can refer you to service providers in your area. Lighthouse provides professional development and public education. It also conducts researching the area of visual impairments.
The National Braille Association provides continuing education to
those who prepare braille and to provide braille materials to persons who are visually impaired. Assists transcribers and narrators in the development and improvement of skills and techniques required for the production of reading materials for individuals who are unable to access standard print.
National Braille Press is a non-profit braille publisher and producer of braille materials. NBP creates products and programs to support braille literacy in the blind community and to provide access to information that empowers blind people to actively engage in work, family, and community.
The National Eye Institute conducts and supports research that helps prevent and treat eye diseases and other vision disorders. Part of the NEI mission is to develop public and professional education programs that help prevent blindness, reduce visual impairments, and increase awareness of services and devices that are available for individuals with low vision. They provide consumers with the National Eye Health Education Program, the Healthy Eyes Educational Toolkit, and information on a variety of eye diseases and disorders.
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is "the oldest, largest, and most influential nationwide membership organization of blind people in the United States. Founded in 1940, the NFB advocates for the civil rights and equality of blind Americans, and develops innovative education, technology, and training programs to provide the blind and those who are losing vision with the tools they need to become independent and successful.”
National Technical Assistance Center on Blindness and Visual Impairment (NTAC-BVI) in or with the field of rehabilitation of persons who are blind or visually impaired. Most are available through PowerPoint slides and lecture. To get continuing education credit, the student must complete a full course, pass the quiz with a score of at least 80% and complete a course evaluation.
The Northeast Regional Center for Vision Education (NERCVE) is committed to improving education for people with visual disabilities. In addition to in-person and online training and professional development (see their University of Massachusetts listing under Professional Preparation Programs), they host an employment board, professional directory, and Listserv. Although their focus is on the Northeast Region of the United States, they provide valuable information and current news and events that apply to all regions.
Paths to Literacy is a collaborative project between the Perkins School for the Blind and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI). These two schools have combined their resources and expertise to assist educators and families in providing literacy experiences for children who are blind or visually impaired. Information includes an overview of literacy and challenges specific to students who are visually impaired. Join their blog for the latest information!
Paths to Technology is a website from Perkins School for the Blind, designed to assist educators and families in learning and staying current on ever-changing technology for students with visual impairments and blindness. Blog posts include tutorials, lists of products, and reviews.
Positive Eye director, Gwyneth McCormack, provides training and consultation to Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments across the UK. In addition to courses, she offers a Shared Ideas page with great activity suggestions on a range of topics specific to working with students who are blind or visually impaired as well as a Top Access Tips page with curriculum access suggestions.
It provides public and professional education research and industrial and community services to prevent blindness. Services include screening, vision testing, and dissemination of information on low-vision devices and clinics.
Safe Toddles features videos and a description of the wearable cane. Safe Toddles builds and donates Toddler Canes as they see wearable canes as essential to encouraging toddlers with visual impairment to develop to their potential. With consistent path information and increased safety through reliable warning, toddlers who are blind blossom when they wear their canes most of the day.
Sign up for free membership to access the FREE downloadable handbooks and handouts on the Free Program Printables page along with access to the Goal Bank pages. Simply click on the Log In | Register link in the navigation bar. If you haven't joined yet, you will be prompted to create a password. Below are just a few examples of the many free printable resources.
Sign up for free membership to access the FREE downloadable handbooks and handouts on the Free Printables page along with access to the Goal Bank pages. Simply click on the Log In | Register link in the navigation bar. If you haven't joined yet, you will be prompted to create a password.
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